Flashback Friday Archive 2019-20: Flashback Friday: Week of March 26

2021-03-26 TWIR Image-Nyack

March 25, 1871 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

[Image: South Broadway between Main and Burd Streets, Nyack, 1872.  John Scott Collection of the Nyack Library via NY Heritage.]      

To the Editor of the Journal:
       Two articles have already appeared in your paper denouncing in severe terms that greatest of all social evils, the “corner loafer.”
       In every unincorporated village along the Hudson River, the custom of standing on the street corners prevails in a measure, but in no place I have ever seen in practice to the extent that it is in Nyack. Whether it is because there are more “loafers,” or those who profess to be gentlemen—at least call themselves such—have a greater desire to be considered rowdies, I am unable to say, but it is an undeniable fact that on the corners of Broadway and Main and Burd streets and between these corners are congregated every evening, from 50 to 75, or 100 young men—no, not young men, for if they were, they would possess that right and manly spirit, which actuates every true hearted son of America, wherein they would scorn in the very thought of committing a mean action—would be too proud to associate with, or be a disturber of the public peace—who finish their evening meal—if they are fortunate enough to get one at all—as soon as possible, and hasten to their accustomed corner where they “kill time” by casting slurs, passing indecent and cowardly remarks, &c., on not only young, or middle aged, or old ladies, but on young gentlemen also who justly despise and detest them for the same reason that every respectable citizen does—because they are loafers.
       They are necessary evils! Well, perhaps they are; so are swine. I fail to see the necessity however of a crowd of rowdies in any locality.
       Your first article speaks of him, or them, as being content to allow mothers and sisters to take in washing or sewing, that they might be provided with money. Yes, they would even willingly see them beg from door to door, and would not themselves put a shoulder to the wheel to help it out of the mire of poverty and want. Oh no; that would be work, and work is something which would disgrace (?) them.
       It is my sincere wish that those persons who are addicted to standing on the streets using slang, spitting tobacco juice, and, worse than all their character—if they have any—away on the sidewalks, will learn what belongs to common decency, and abandon the vile, disgusting habit.
       In this free country, “every man is a sovereign,”—if he chooses to be; but when he sinks himself below the level of the brute—when he so far debases himself and forgets his duty to society, as to stand in front of merchants’ stores and insulting ladies and gentlemen—who would not compromise their dignity by replying—he forfeits all right to any respectable title, and should be considered an outcast from society, a very leper, and no more to be respected than the convicted felon who may be serving his sentence in some State prison.
       “Whoever the shoe fits, let him wear it.”
       Signed, Citizen.
       Nyack, March 1871

March 26, 1921 – 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Times

       The shoe store of Jas. E. Finegan was burglariously entered Friday night, the job being done in about as rough and amateur way has ever been transacted in Haverstraw and notwithstanding that the robbery in its features, must have made much noise, no one seems to know when or how it occurred, although, in order to accomplish the theft one of the big panes of play glass in the side of the show window was shattered.
       The thieves stole a total of five pairs of shoes, only three pairs of which will be serviceable as four of the shoes taken were odd shoes, the mates for these having been in boxes. Consequently, the thieves secured but three pairs.
The job was done so amateurish and rough that it leaves no doubt that it was done by someone not used to the expeditions of that kind. The value of the property taken is about $30 aside from the damage to the glass.
       As there were two or three social affairs going on in town during the evening, and it was reported that there were many visitors from up the line, it was thought that there were strangers implicated. This, however, is doubtful.

       As a result of an advertisement in last week’s Times, looking for an owner of a gold wristwatch found on Main Street by Sergeant Michael A. Donaldson, the watch has returned on Wednesday to Mr. Philip Picarrello, who lives in the Lichtenstein building at 63 Main Street. One of the Picarrello children took the mother’s gold wristwatch, and going out on the street, let it fall, breaking the crystal and failing to mention it to its Mother, the loss was not noticed for several days.
       When it was discovered and a search commenced the advertisement was noticed, having previously no interest for the Picarrello family.
       The useful and valuable timepiece was completely identified by Mr. Picarrello to whom the watch was immediately delivered, and he desires the Times to express his gratitude to the sergeant for his honesty and thoughtfulness.

March 26, 1971 – 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

       Some 100 men added their names to 400 women’s signatures gathered in the first day of a petition campaign seeking repeal of an Orangetown local law which prohibits abortions anywhere in the town except in a licensed hospital.
       The law was approved by a 3-1 vote of the town council Monday night. Contending the law is unconstitutional, an Orangetown physician is challenging it in Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, a group of women claiming no affiliation with any existing organization mounted the petition campaign to try to persuade the town board to rescind the law.
       They were out in force at shopping centers throughout Orangetown yesterday gathering signatures to petitions. A spokesman said cooperation is coming from all segments of the community, crossing all sorts of political, religious, and even sexual lines.
       Jeffrey Weingard, attorney for Dr. Young Kim of Tappan, is seeking a preliminary injunction against the law and has filed for a permanent injunction.
       Weingard contends the law is unconstitutional and that Dr. Kim’s clinical facilities are as good as those of a hospital. Dr. Kim has performed 235 such operations, mostly for patients referred to, from elsewhere, and all before the twelfth week of pregnancy.
       A legal spokesman in the New York State Office for Local Government, Albany, commented yesterday that local governments have broad police powers to maintain the safety and welfare of their citizens but whether these powers could be stretched to outlaw abortions would be up to the courts. There is already one up-state case in the courts, and several are being planned in Long Island communities with similar laws.
       He said there is a wide misunderstanding of the legislature’s action last year which cleared the path to legalized abortions in the state.
       The action approved by the legislature was not the creation of a new law but was an amendment to the penal code of the state, he said.
       “The action removed the element of criminal liability in ending pregnancies,” he said. It provides that an abortion may be performed to save the life of the mother, an element which has been on the books since the 19th century but was amended to include the definition of a justifiable abortion as an “act committed on the female with her consent by a duly licensed physician . . . within 24 weeks from the commencement of her pregnancy.”
       The law says nothing about where the operation may or may not be performed.
“The question was left open for the exercise of the power of those who license and police the activity of physicians,” the spokesman said.
       One of the chief contentions of opponents of the local law is that hospital space for this type of operation in Orangetown is almost non-existent and the law is, in effect, really a prohibition rather than an attempt to protect the safety of women undergoing the operation.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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